The Fight Against Imposte ...
    25 May 22

    The Fight Against Imposter Syndrome

    Posted byINE

    Imposter syndrome is indiscriminate in who it affects and is a common symptom within the modern workplace. Defined as “the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills,” imposter syndrome can lead to increased anxiety and burnout.

    In the digital era where the IT industry has an overwhelming presence, this means imposter syndrome is bound to show up among IT professionals. However, there are some groups in IT that face imposter syndrome more prominently than others. This blog will explore the impacts of imposter syndrome on the IT industry and the specific ways imposter syndrome manifests itself among IT professionals.

    Impact on the Industry
    Mental health is a critical aspect of all industries, but according to a study conducted by ZDNet, “42% of IT workers who are facing high levels of burnout are considering quitting their company in the next six months.” That’s a major shift for technical professionals and companies alike, impacting retention rates, knowledge gaps, and the overall sense of fulfillment. As noted in a Forbes article, HR professionals have said burnout leads to 20-50% of turnover rates.

    Manifestation of Imposter Syndrome
    We’ve defined imposter syndrome and know it shows itself as a lack of belief in one’s ability or credibility, but what does that mean for technical professionals? Technology is constantly evolving which means skills need to be able to evolve to keep up with demands. This evolutionary pattern can lead to more pronounced manifestations of imposter syndrome for technology professionals. These manifestations often look like individuals who say or feel the below:

    “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

    “I shouldn’t be leading this project.”

    “Why am I the one making this decision?”

    These are thoughts and questions that come up in every professional field where imposter syndrome is present. However, the impact of asking these questions and the ways they are handled in IT are different. 

    For example, if you’re in penetration testing and begin asking why you’re in charge, you and the entire penetration team are more likely to lose confidence in the project itself as well as in the findings. This could lead to serious issues being overlooked or discredited and leave vulnerabilities open for threat actors to exploit.

    Offensive Security Consultant, Lily Clark, said from her own experience that, “The thing about imposter syndrome is that everyone has it in the industry. There’s always more to learn and if you’re smart, you surround yourself with professionals with different areas of expertise so it seems like you know nothing in comparison.” Her mentality is one way to combat imposter syndrome and promote growth, which leads us to how you can approach imposter syndrome.

    Handling Imposter Syndrome in IT
    There is no cure-all for imposter syndrome and it can be hard to know if you’re experiencing symptoms of imposter syndrome. Luckily, there are ways you can approach imposter syndrome once you recognize it’s what you’re experiencing. A few ways you can manage imposter syndrome include:

    Talking to Your Team: If you have a peer or a mentor you work with regularly, they can be a great point of reassurance and guidance. Ask your team questions, see what they may be dealing with, and don’t isolate yourself! In some cases, your team may even be able to provide you with an outside look and emotional support you didn’t realize you needed. 

    Remembering the Experts: Experts are the ones who have put in the time and effort to research or construct concepts, processes, etc. As an IT professional, you’ve likely been following certain processes for years and have had to put in the time to learn new systems or technologies. This, in some regard, makes you an expert. Don’t discredit the experiences you’ve had in the industry but keep in mind that being open to new solutions will lead to increased chances of success.

    Building Knowledge: One of the best ways to approach the doubts and questions brought on by imposter syndrome is to research what you believe you don’t know. Knowledge building is a powerful tool in diverting doubts about one’s abilities or qualifications. This can be done through research, training, or getting certified in the desired area of expertise.

    While these three approaches to imposter syndrome can be a great starting point, they can also be built upon with INE training! INE provides training to help you build your knowledge in NetworkingCyber SecurityCloud, and Data Science while also granting you access to a community of professionals who have a wide range of expertise. Plus, you can talk to our experts to help you through your learning journey. If you’re looking for group training, your team can join you as part of the INE for Business platform, allowing you to tackle the knowledge building together. 

    About INE
    INE is the premier provider of technical training for the IT industry. INE is revolutionizing the digital learning industry through the implementation of adaptive technologies and a proven method of hands-on training experiences. Our portfolio of training is built for all levels of technical learning, specializing in advanced networking technologies, next generation security and infrastructure programming and development. Want to talk to a training advisor about our course offerings and training plans? Give us a call at 877-224-8987 or email us at

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